Recovery of Rare Earth Elements from Geothermal Fluids through Bacterial Cell Surface Adsorption


We summarized the FY17 and part of FY18 results of the analysis of the effect of several parameters (e.g., total dissolved solids, specific competing metals, pH, and temperature) on REE recovery from geothermal brine in a manuscript that was submitted to Environmental Science & Technology.

In this manuscript, we investigate biosorption as a potential means of recovering REEs from geothermal fluids, a low-grade but abundant REE source. We have previously engineered E. coli to express lanthanide binding tags (LBTs) on the cell surface and the resulting strain showed an increase in both REE adsorption capacity and selectivity. Here we examined how REE adsorption by the engineered E. coli is affected by various geochemical factors relevant to geothermal fluids, including total dissolved solids (TDS), temperature, pH, and the presence of competing trace metals.

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DOE Project Name: Extraction of Rare Earth Metals from Geothermal Fluids using Bioengineered Microbes
DOE Project Number: LLNL FY17 AOP 25112
DOE Project Lead: Josh Mengers
Last Updated: over a year ago
Data from January, 2018
Submitted Jul 30, 2018


Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory



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Yongqin Jiao
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
Aaron Brewere
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
Dan Park
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
Laura Lammers
Elliot Chang
Yat Li
Tianyi Kou


geothermal, energy, REE, brine, fluid, rare earth, elements, bacteria, cell, surface, adsorption, bioengineering, microbe, microbial, biosorption, bioadsorption, lanthanide binding, tag, LBT, geofluid, E. coli, geochemical, geochemistry, factors


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